RALEIGH — Durham-Chapel Hill ranks sixth and Raleigh-Cary is No. 7 among the nation’s top 110 metropolitan areas for technology innovation, says a new report from the North Carolina Technology Association.
In fact, the state ranked well, placing 10 metros in the list.
Austin, Texas – often cited as a rival for Raleigh and the Triangle – tops the report.
The report examines the NC Tech Industry across four sub-categories: Energy Tech, Environmental Tech, Life Sciences, and IT.
NC TECH’s Tech Innovation Index was released Thursday. This year’s report represents the third annual release of the report.
Some high points and key statistics include:
- The 10 metros include Durham-Chapel Hill, Raleigh-Cary, Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, Fayetteville, Greenville, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Greensboro-High Point, Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, and Asheville.
- North Carolina ranked highest in metros for innovation, with Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill coming in at 3rd and 4th respectively.
- NC ranks 2nd among the U.S. states for the percentage of Women in the Tech Industry Workforce at 36%, behind only Maine.
- North Carolina also did well for “Business Dynamism” (net gain in establishment of businesses) with 8 out of 10 metros growing, led by the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metro, as well as Raleigh-Cary, and Greenville.
- The NC Tech Industry has netted 43,615 jobs between 2016 and 2021. Only the Finance & Insurance and Transportation & Warehousing industries have grown more in that time.
- NC Tech Industry growth in that time ranks 9th among U.S. states and is more than 7% higher than the average growth of 10%.
Many of the top-performing metros corresponded to the presence of R1 – heavy research – universities, and the Triangle was no exception. But many of the other higher ed institutions around the state were also represented. Raleigh, Durham, and Wilmington all scored well for educational attainment with 40-50% of adults having a BA or higher.
“It’s not surprising that the Triangle and Charlotte area metros in NC stack up well in a national comparison of the top 100+ metros,” said Brooks Raiford, CEO of NC TECH. “But what’s exciting is that a number of other metros around North Carolina rank well in a number of the metrics, showing the widespread strength of our state’s tech sector.”
About the Report
The report examines the NC Tech Industry across 4 sub-categories: Energy Tech, Environmental Tech, Life Sciences, and IT.
As in past years, report data comes from tech leaders and examines the top 105 metros in the United States, along with 5 additional NC metros, for a total of 110. The Index is weighted by the industry talent supply, talent demand, and innovation in each metro.
Presenter Ted Abernathy did note that the definition of “metro” is one provided by the government, which is why data lists “Raleigh-Cary” and “Durham-Chapel Hill” as separate metros. This designation does hamper the Triangle region in some ways, especially with RTP located squarely between the metros. However, other regions such as “San Francisco-Oakland-Berkley” and “San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara” face similar challenges.
The final report will be shared on the NC TECH website.